Published Tuesday, 11 August 2020
The Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, Yasumasa Nagamine, has honoured Coventry Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation by bestowing his Commendation.
The Commendation was given in a “spirit of profound gratitude for everything the Committee has done” and “in recognition of the Service’s long and distinguished contribution to the deepening of friendship between Japan and the UK”.
The honour was bestowed at the Commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki organised annually in Coventry Cathedral by the Committee on 6 August. This year, in fact, two special anniversaries were being remembered: the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Japan and the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry.
Because of COVID-19, Ambassador Nagamine was unable to attend the Commemoration in person, so he delivered his Commemoration via video, but he is looking forward to presenting the Committee with a Certificate of Commendation when the health situation has eased.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, schools were unable to send students to read Sadako’s story telling how this young Japanese girl tried and failed to fold a thousand paper cranes before she died from the effects of the bomb blast. Luckily Vinnie Darby, a student from Cardinal Newman Catholic School, kindly read the story for us and this featured in a video shown to the audience. Also a few Young Coventry Ambassadors were able to attend, taken by their relatives, and met the Lord Mayor and other dignitaries.
The event also featured an exchange of messages of greeting between the Lord Mayor of Coventry and the Mayor of Hiroshima. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Ann Lucas, showed a Certificate of Friendship which will be presented to the people of Hiroshima when circumstances allow.
The Dean of Coventry Cathedral, John Witcombe, showed a Cross of Nails which will also be presented to the city of Hiroshima. He explained that a cross was “originally forged from nails gathered from the ruins of the bombed and burned Coventry Cathedral. It represents the futility and horror of war, but also the possibility of finding hope even in the midst of our greatest loss. The Christian symbol of the cross is a reminder of the presence of God in Christ in our places of deepest darkness – and wherever God is found and known, we can also find hope. We look forward to presenting this cross to the people of Hiroshima who have embraced their darkness and found within it glimmers of hope and a commitment to peace which now inspires the world.”
Coventry Lord Mayor’s Committee has been promoting peace and reconciliation for over 40 years. We currently organise a wide variety of activities including not only the Hiroshima Commemoration but also the Lord Mayor’s Peace Lecture which this year will be delivered by the eminent scientist Sir David King who has unique insight into climate change and its possible implications for peace.
In addition the Committee organises Coventry Peace Award, Coventry and Warwickshire Schools Peace Poem, Coventry Peace Song, Coventry Peace and Justice Forum and publishes books and booklets including Coventry City Centre Peace Trail.
Information about all our projects and links to many educational resources can be found on our website CoventryCityOfPeace.uk
Photo – left to right:
Lord Mayor Councillor Ann Lucas (left), Pru Porretta as Lady Godiva (third from right) and Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor John McNicholas together with some Coventry Young Ambassadors.
Photo credit: Godiva Sisters